WASHINGTON (CNS) — Three faith-based organizations working to reform the country’s immigration laws are set to receive $800,000 from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The grants to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC, Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the PICO National Network will bolster campaigns to mobilize Catholics to act on behalf of immigrants, said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., chairman of the bishops’ CCHD subcommittee.

“We are at a significant juncture where there is apparent political momentum to make a just and humane immigration reform policy,” Bishop Soto told Catholic News Service March 5, pointing to renewed calls from Republican and Democratic leaders to reform immigration laws.


The grants will help keep the Catholic Church in the forefront of the immigration debate, he said.

“There is still cause for concern that immigrants and American society will not get the bill they need. For that reason, it’s important for the Catholic community to continue to engage this important debate,” he said.

“This additional funding hopefully will not only help to engage more of the faithful in this process, but bring the important values of human dignity and family unity to the debates,” he added.

A $375,000 grant to CLINIC will benefit the organization’s Catholics United for Immigration Reform project. CLINIC officials plan to solicit proposals from grass-roots organizations nationwide to build support for immigration reform. The organization also will take the lead in convening the Catholic communities across the country to promote reform.

The MRS grant, totaling $275,000, will benefit the Justice for Immigrants Campaign, which educates Catholics about immigration issues, builds and strengthens relationships among immigrant communities and Catholic dioceses, and builds support for reform legislation.

The PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship will receive $150,000. The award will continue CCHD’s support of congregation- and parish-based community organizing efforts.

Bishop Soto said PICO was identified as an organization to support because of its long-standing relationship with the USCCB and its presence in parishes across the country.

“PICO is very congregation based in community organizing, so the partnership makes a lot of sense,” Bishop Soto explained. “I know from working with the PICO leadership and their membership, this (immigration) is a big issue.”